And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
Today’s big question: what is unique about faith, hope, and love?
We have previously discussed each of these important concepts in our devotionals but we are now going to devote an entire series to faith, hope, and love.
The Bible has a great deal of teaching on each of these three words, and the New Testament often places them within the same context. For example, Paul reminded the Thessalonians about the importance of “putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8).
We have all used these words, but do we understand how unique the biblical meanings of these terms differ from the way the world views them? Do we recognize the unique significance that faith, hope, and love should have in the life of a Christian? While they will be further explained in forthcoming devotionals, let’s briefly examine how each of these terms is unique when compared to worldly understanding.
Faith is often thought of as something that requires blind trust because no evidence exists to confirm it. This is not how the Bible defines faith. Rather, the biblical definition is a confident trust or belief in God that is often based on recognizing God’s nature and His fidelity to His promises. On the other hand, the evolutionist clings to a “blind faith” in that he believes in a self-defeating naturalistic philosophy. He trusts in the impossible—molecules-to-man evolution—in spite of the fact that no one has ever observed such a thing.
Worldly thinking produces hopelessness. Manmade religions promote their own versions of paradise that can only be attained through human effort. Yet the innate sense of our own sinfulness ensures that we can never be assured we have been “good enough” to achieve that elusive hope. Meanwhile, the Christian’s hope is “an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast,” because it is rooted in the completed work of Jesus Christ who paid for all of our sins on the Cross (Hebrews 6:19–20).
Love is also misunderstood in our world. It has been distorted, redefined, and perverted so that all manner of vices are described as love (e.g., self-love, homosexuality, etc.) The Bible describes true love as being self-sacrificial rather than self-seeking. It seeks what is best for others rather than self and is based on God, who is love (1 John 4:8). True love is appropriately defined in one of the Bible’s most famous passages:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16)
Today’s big idea: the Bible presents a unique understanding of faith, hope, and love.
What to pray: ask God to help you be like His Son, the absolute basis for true faith, hope, and love.